Why I Don’t Use Facebook’s Messenger App

Once upon a time, on those infrequent occasions when someone would message me on Facebook and I wasn’t sitting at a computer, I could pick up my phone, pop open the Facebook app, and read and respond to the message.

I miss those days.

Last year, Facebook broke the messaging feature into its own app and took that feature out of the Facebook app because… reasons. Apparently Messenger is a “better experience?” I wouldn’t know because I haven’t used it. I’m not in the habit of filling my phone with every single app I can get my hands on. Storage is at a premium and I care a lot about how I organize my apps.

I can say that my experience of using the Facebook app declined greatly. As if it’s not enough that you can’t read and reply to messages in Facebook, the Facebook app knows when you’ve received a message, and it shows you the first several characters of that message, and there’s a notification right in the interface to tell you that you have an unread message. You just can’t read it.

Can someone explain to me how this is an example of good user-centered design?

Removing this functionality is a naked example of business driving design decisions. All it has done is drive me to using the web version of Facebook when I need to respond to messages in a pinch, but, mostly, it just means I don’t using their message feature as much anymore. Good job, Facebook. It’s nice to get a reminder that although good design can seem so obvious, it’s still an uphill battle.